Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The story of Black History Month begins back in 1915 after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

In September 1915, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History or the ASNLH for short. This organization was dedicated to researching and promoting the achievements by black African Americans and other people of African descent.

The organization is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. This event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.

The Black History Month 2018 theme is “African Americans in Times of War,” marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and honors the roles that black Americans have played in warfare, from the American Revolution to the present day.